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Wholesaler Finished

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A national wholesaler based in Missouri abruptly announced this week that it was shutting down by today.

In a message posted on its Web site, Heartland Wholesale Mortgage, a division of Heartland Bank, said it will end operations.

The St. Louis, Mo.-based wholesaler cited market conditions for the closing and apologized for the abrupt exit.

Veteran Account Executive Mark Levin told MortgageDaily.com he found out about the closure on Wednesday.

“I got a call about 9 a.m.,” he said. “The company shut down the Web site for a few minutes, put up a shutdown notice … and sent an e-mail to everybody about 10 a.m.

“They told everybody we’re closing down as of Friday,” Levin said. “They said, if you’re not funded by Friday, take your (loan) files elsewhere.”

The Web site posting indicates Dec. 31 is the last day to fund.

“Due to turbulent market conditions facing our industry, Heartland Wholesale Funding has elected to exit the wholesale residential lending business, effective immediately,” the message reads “Please be advised loans must close, with all conditions met, by Monday 12/31/07. We sincerely thank you for your business and apologize for short notice.”

The company’s management did not immediately return a phone call to comment.

Levin estimated that 22 account executives and 40 support staff out of work due to the closing.

Heartland’ business has steadily declined over the last few years.

In 2005, Heartland processed $153 million in loans, according to information filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and compiled by AllMortgageDetail.com.

Loan volume was $222 million in 2004 and $523 million in 2003.

Levin, who worked for Heartland for about three months, estimated loan volume ranged from $4 million to $24 million a month. But he complained that it had become difficult to fund borrowers’ loans.

“Heartland Bank is a very conservative operation,” he said. “I don’t think they had the (guts) to stay in the (mortgage) business. I tried to bring in the best files I could. I tried to keep the fraud out of there. But for the $2 million in funding I got, I had $18 million in declines.

“You couldn’t get a decision out of anybody,” Levin said of management. “One person would say one thing, and somebody else would contradict that. In the meantime my clients are saying, ‘where is my approval’.”

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